Is NJ’s New Virtual Sports Betting Just A Dry Run For The Real Thing?

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With New Jersey battling for the right to let players bet on real sports at the US Supreme Court on Monday, one online casino in the state is getting ahead of the game, virtually.

SugarHouse Online Casino launched Inspired Entertainment’s Virtual Sportsbetting this week, becoming the first online casino in the United States to offer real money gambling on not-so real games.

PlaySugarHouse.com is now taking bets on simulated races that feature virtual horses, dogs, and cars. There’s even virtual team sports betting as well, with soccer launching out of the gate and more to come.

Real sports betting, virtual sports

It’s all pretty simple. Place a bet and then watch a livestream of the simulated event on the site. It’s real sports betting. It just isn’t real sports. However, it does appear to put SugarHouse Online Casino owners Rush Street Interactive just a click away from the real thing.

The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in New Jersey’s effort to repeal the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) on Dec. 4. This is the law that created a federal ban on sports betting everywhere except Nevada, NFL parlay sports betting in Delaware, and game square wagering in Montana.

New Jersey has been trying to get the law repealed and open up sports betting at casinos and racetracks across the state since 2011. Major professional sports leagues across the country have been successful in shutting down these efforts through the courts. However, hope springs eternal for the state and anyone who bets sports.

In fact, other states are lining up across the country to pass laws to allow sports betting themselves, should New Jersey prove successful at the Supreme Court level. Plus, conventional wisdom has most thinking SCOTUS can no longer turn a blind eye to the billions Americans are currently betting with offshore and illegal bookies. Not to mention states’ rights to govern and tax the activity.

A real sports betting dry run

The Supreme Court isn’t likely to release a decision in the case before at least the spring of 2018. In the meantime, New Jersey residents and visitors are welcome to try virtual sports betting at SugarHouse. Plus, rumor has it several other NJ online casinos will be launching similar virtual sports betting options of their own.

The technology is already in play in a number of Nevada casinos. Pundits also say it’s quite popular in Europe, where it can make up as much as 20 percent of a sports book’s revenue.

It remains to be seen whether this type of wagering will catch on in New Jersey. However, from the looks of things, it doesn’t really matter if it does.

The smart money says this new online virtual sports betting is as much a simulation as the games being bet on. It’s simply New Jersey online casinos doing a dry run in the hope the real thing is right around the corner.

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Martin Derbyshire

About

Martin Derbyshire has more than ten years of experience reporting on the poker, online gambling, and land-based casino industries for a variety of publications including Bluff Magazine, PokerNews, and PokerListings. He has traveled extensively, attending tournaments and interviewing major players in the gambling world.